Wikicoin Alex Morris

5 Best ASIC Miners For Bitcoin Mining in 2018

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ASIC mining has become an extremely competitive multi-billion dollar industry, which gives us a lot to choose from
5 Best ASIC Miners For Bitcoin Mining in 2018
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ASIC miners represent the latest generation of cryptocurrency mining equipment that has effectively replaced graphics processors. Canada-based GPU manufacturing giant Nvidia has recently pulled out of mining due to its low revenue, which is inextricably connected to the dominance of ASIC chips. At the same time, ASIC chip manufacturers are aiming to raise billions of dollars after going public.

Bitmain, the biggest crypto-oriented company in the world, still enjoys a near-monopoly on the cryptocurrency market. However, its major competitors are already breathing down its neck. Therefore, we will try to find out the best cryptocurrency miner out there.

How to choose a Bitcoin miner?

Before we get down to our top five picks, it is worth mentioning the main factors that will help you to determine the best Bitcoin ASIC miner for your personal needs:

  1. Hash rate. Hash rate is measured in hashes per second. Obviously, the more powerful your miner is, the bigger block reward you get.

  2. Efficiency. Hash rate is not the definitive factor when it comes to picking the best Bitcoin miner since it also has to make the best use of the amount of electricity you consume. Your mining profitability greatly depends on your electricity expenses, so you want to get the maximum amount of Bitcoin.

  3. Price. At early stages of Bitcoin mining, it is all about offsetting your initial investment. You have to calculate the mining profitability and decide whether it’s worth purchasing a flagship miner, or you can simply stick around with less expensive one that will give you more efficiency.

Biggest ASIC chip producers

  • Bitmain. The Beijing-based company still controls the lion’s share of the market (85 percent) despite the reports that this multi-billion dollar behemoth is gradually losing its monopoly status due to the cutthroat competition in this niche of the cryptocurrency industry. Bitmain managed to grow so quickly because of the enormous success of their Antminer line (which includes the legendary miner Antminer S9). It’s also worth mentioning that Bitmain operates numerous mining pools (Antpool is the biggest one) that are responsible for more than 51 percent of the Bitcoin hashrate.  

  • Halong Mining. The fact that Bitmain is hell-bent on getting rid of any other mining companies on the market it doesn’t mean that there is no competition. Back in November 2017, another Chinese manufacturer introduced the world’s most efficient miner Halong DragonMint 16T, continuing an intense ASIC mining hardware race.

  • Canaan Creative. Canaan Creative is the second biggest Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer the world after Bitmain. Apart from a slew of its miners, the company has also recently introduced the first mining TV.

Now that we’ve covered all the basics, let us determine the best ASIC miner on the market.

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Antminer S9, or Antminer S9 Hydro?  

Antminer S9 has already became a legend among ASIC miners, but is this still good enough? You can currently buy 14 TH/s for less than $700. One of the drawbacks of this miner is that it is very sensitive to high temperature, so your primal task is to ensure that it gets proper cooling. The best choice is to have one specific room for mining (if you, of course, do not own a mining farm).

After the release of Antminer S9, Bitmain’s previous hit product Antminer S7 has drastically dropped in price, so you might as well consider purchasing a couple of used S7 miners.

Antminer S9
Antminer S9

At the end of August, a brand-new miner appeared on Bitmain’s official website named S9 Hydro. We are dealing with the good old Antminer S9, but they also added a hashing board that increases the total hashrate up to 18 THS. While there are no fundamental technological differences, S9 Hydro produces is not as noisy as other ASIC miners.  

Will Antminer Z9 and Antminer Z9 Mini be able to battle ASIC resistance?  

This is a relatively new miner by Bitmain (Bitmain announced the pre-order of this miner back on May 3). One of the specific features of this miner is that it supports the mining of Equihash-based coins, including ZCash (ZEC), Bitcoin Gold (BTG) and so on. In fact, this was first ASIC miner that is compatible with this specific algorithm, yet again serving a major blow to GPU mining.    

With hashrate of 10K Sol/s and power consumption of 300 Watts will set you back about $850 while Antminer Z9 costs a whopping $3,319, offering 40.8k sol/s. However, with the way Bitcoin hashrate is rising, you never know whether this hardware becomes obsolete in a few months.

If you plan to purchase this specific miner, there are certain things that you have to consider the rising mining difficulty. Yes, ASIC Bitcoin miners are much more powerful than ordinary GPUs, but you may as well read that as significantly higher mining difficulty of Equihash-based cryptocurrencies. On top of that, many such coins could become ASIC-resistant similarly to Bitcoin Gold, which would virtually eliminate the miner’s efficiency.

Halong Mining DragonMint T1– the first miner to offer 16 TH/s

Halong Mining made an announcement about the release of Halong Mining DragonMint T1 in November 2017, marketing it as the most efficient machine out there. This ASIC miner really managed to pull off up to 16 TH/s, which is a visible improvement from 14 TH/s offered by Antminer S9s, our first entry on the list. DragonMint T1 has a tad higher efficiency compared to older Antminer S9s, but it didn’t even come close to the previously declared numbers. With that being said, it’s up to you to consider whether you want to pay $300 more for this miner.

One of the noticeable advantages of DragonMint T1 is its cooling solution which presented in the form of dual nine blade variable fans (they keep temperature just at 25 degrees).   

It is worth mentioning that this miner was developed with Samsung (the company confirmed the cooperation in April). After landing a deal with the South Korean tech giant, Halong Mining poses as a viable competitor to Bitmain.  

“We want to ‘make SHA256 great again,” – BtcDrak, Bitcoin core developer.

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AvalonMiner 821– creating competition for Bitmain

AvalonMiner 821 was officially revealed by Canaan Creative last December to hold a candle to Bitmain’s dominance after the success of its previous-generation AvalonMiner 741. This miner has a hashrate of 11TH/s. Unlike DragonMint T1, AvalonMiner 821 only has one cooler, but it still provides the owner with a substantial level of cooling. Furthermore, the miner is resistant to different temperatures.

The miner is absolutely compatible with huge mining pools like Nicehash.com, Slushpool.com.

AvalonMiner 821 trails Antminer S9s by 10 percent in terms of mining efficiency (this comes in addition to the lower hashrate). However, it is still a viable option for those who want to save some cash. It currently costs around $700. While you still have to buy a $200 PSU for this miner, a total of roughly $900 is still less than Antminer S9.

AvalonMiner 821
AvalonMiner 821

Whatsminer M10, Avalon A9 and more– new ASIC monsters are (almost) here

This flagship product of a Shenzhen-based company Shenzhen is also worthy of your attention. Pangolin only recently announced this miner on Twitter, and it is only available for pre-order for $1,888 (first buyers will already get this miner by Sept. 20). Whatsminer M10, while offering 33TH/s of hashrate, uses about 81W per 1 TH/s, which makes it more efficient than its closest competitor GMO B3. Some engineers behind Whatsminer M10 come from Bitmain, so it explains its high level of productivity. However, there is some criticism surrounding Whatsminer M10– from negative reviews about M3's slow preorders to speculations about whether the miner matches its description on paper in real-life conditions.

Whatsminer M10
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Back in August, Canaan Creative made an announcement about working on a new brand-new Avalon A9 that is 7nm chip technology that is able to reach 30 TH while it’s power consumption is only 1730W, thus ensuring a maximum level of efficiency. This technology definitely blows out of water even the newest Innosilicon Terminator 2. However, it is quite likely that every major ASIC manufacturer already has a new 7nm ASIC up its sleeve, so we have to wait and see whether Canaan will have a competitive advantage. Japanese tech giant GMO is also developing 7nm ASIC miners that are going to be launched as early as in 2018.   

Strictly numbers

ASIC Miner

Hashrate

Price

Antminer S9 Hydro

18 TH/s

$755

Antminer S9

14 TH/s

$695

DragonMint T1

16TH/s

$999

Antminer Z9

40.8k sol/s

$3319

Antminer Z9 Mini

10k sol/s

$850

AvalonMiner 821

11TH/s

$649.00

Pangolin Whatsminer M10

33TH/s

$1,888

Are there miners we don’t know about?

It has already been confirmed that there was a secret best ASIC miner that was specifically designed to mine Monero (it has been responsible for almost 50 percent of its hashrate for over a year). On top of that, there have been plenty of rumors about other super-powerful ASIC miners. ASIC mining is a huge global industry, so large mining farms are willing to pay millions in order to have a sneak peek of exclusive miners.

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Wikicoin Denys Serhiichuk

Best Cryptocurrency Trading Apps for iOS and Android in 2019?

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If you want to maximize your profit from trading, you need to know all the peculiarities of this business.
Best Cryptocurrency Trading Apps for iOS and Android in 2019?
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The cryptocurrency market is gaining popularity, in addition to the well-known Bitcoin, and there is a wide variety of other virtual currencies. The advantage is inexpensive cost and instability, which gives users greater interest in trade.

On this basis, special apps are created that allow you to monitor the selected cryptocurrencies, as well as enter into various deals with them.

Cryptocurrency trading app

Nowadays, cryptocurrency trading has become an essential way of making money for many people. However, it has its limitations: in particular, the need to control the rate of digital assets.

Not every crypto exchange boasts rich functionality for such features. In order to start trading cryptocurrency, there are a number of mobile apps, both on iOS and Android. They are very important for traders who are often on the road, like to check quotes and manage funds without any restrictions.

While choosing a platform for trading, it is always important to consider the availability of a mobile version, as it will allow you to get rid of an asset or, on the contrary, buy it at once.

The functionality of mobile apps, as a rule, is not too different from the web version. The cryptocurrency trading program is also provided with a quotation schedule, the ability to deposit/withdraw funds from the balance, make an order to buy or sell.

In order to start trading cryptocurrency from your device, usually it is only needed to download an app from the App Store or Google Play, install it on your smartphone, and then log in to your account.

It is also worth mentioning the two-factor authentication system, which is likely to be required to verify identity. One needs to enter an SMS code from the associated phone number or confirm it with an e-mail.

For cryptocurrency trading, there are several mobile apps that can be called the best. In this regard, let’s analyze them in order to choose the most appropriate one for you.

Binance

Binance mobile app interface
Binance mobile application interface

This is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. It ranks second with a capitalization of $2.1 billion. Binance is increasingly preferred by many users around the world, both experienced and beginners. The trading volume is high, and it is growing rapidly, which allows you to carry out fast transactions.

The platform is stable and has a friendly interface. Its desktop application is also very high quality. In addition, there is also a mobile version, both for IOS and Android. It is a perfect solution for those who have an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

The application interface is simple and straightforward: currency pairs and cryptocurrency rates are grouped on a separate tab. You can simply buy or sell any coin by clicking the “Buy’’ or “Sell’’ buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Binance offers a wide range of virtual currencies, which only increases the popularity of the platform. There is also the local BNB token, which you use to save 50% on commissions. This is an important concession for people who trade every day. If you need an exchange for a large number of transactions, Binance may be the best choice.

Coinbase

Coinbase mobile app interface
Coinbase mobile application

Coinbase is another popular cryptocurrency exchange with a well-deserved reputation and high trading volume. The app is built around the usual Bitcoin wallet and allows you to safely store coins. They can also be bought or sold out, using the program as a mobile tool to access trading accounts on the website.

The platform is probably one of the most popular online services for Bitcoin trading, as well as one of the most widely used wallet solutions. Based in San Francisco, Coinbase has more than 7 million users worldwide.

However, the Coinbase mobile app for smartphones offers an even more diverse set of functions besides those available on the website.The application works with iOS and Android devices and you can easily and quickly perform operations with Bitcoin. In addition to BTC, it also offers investors the opportunity to purchase Ethereum and Litecoin.

Coinbase allows investors to buy cryptocurrency through credit cards or by direct bank transfer. Payment methods can be saved for future use, simplifying the trading process. The functionality of the application does not have all the capabilities that competitors have. But the mobile version of Coinbase is extremely simple and easy to use. It is often recommended for beginners.

For those who need to trade at short rates and in a variety of currency pairs, the Coinbase application will be indispensable.

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Blockfolio

Blockfolio mobile app interface

Developed as an accounting program, Blockfolio allows you to track all changes in the value of digital assets, getting reliable information about them.

In fact, Blockfolio is the most convenient application for today, allowing access to price tracking. Currently, the service is the most popular application of its kind, enabling one to fully monitor the status of a cryptocurrency portfolio. Today, there is a situation where users simultaneously have investments in different coins.

For example, you bought several coins on the Binance exchange, however, there are also coins on Bittrex. Part of the funds you keep on the exchange, and some on the wallet. And a few more coins are on separate wallets. Immediately the question arises: how can you keep track of all this online, from one place, to control your entire cryptocurrency portfolio? It is not possible to cope without help from a huge amount of such information. Here is where Blockfolio’s services come to the rescue.

The functionality of the application is maximally simplified and requires the client to only add the desired cryptocurrency to the list, after which a user receives data on all changes in the value of coins. At the same time, the interface of the program allows to configure the parameters of the output information in order to make its receipt simple and easily perceived.

Blockfolio is one of the most preferable tools for price tracking. It can display current prices by displaying push notifications on the smartphone screen as soon as the currency reaches a predetermined level, increasing the reaction rate for making trading decisions.

Using the application allows to repeatedly reduce the amount of time required for the organization of full and comprehensive control over the behavior of prices for digital currencies. Using the Blockfolio application for cryptocurrencies, there is no need to visit a large number of exchanges, tracking the dynamics of price changes. The program performs all these functions, providing the user with all the necessary information in the most convenient way. In addition, the application itself notifies the owner of increases or decreases in the price of coins, which is very convenient. It is available for both Android and iPhone. It also works on iPad.

TabTrader

TabTrader mobile app interface

The application is designed specifically to ensure that every person who sells cryptocurrencies on exchanges can do this anytime and anywhere using a smartphone. TabTrader allows managing trading on exchanges using API keys. Thus, having accounts on several exchanges, you can connect to them and perform trading operations through the application interface. In addition, it can be used simply to analyze the prices of cryptocurrencies that interest you, and plus carry out the necessary technical analysis.

TabTrader is currently a very popular application. Almost every trader can take advantage of it, because it supports the majority of well-known cryptocurrency exchanges, and, accordingly, cryptocurrency trading pairs that are available on these exchanges. That is, if you have an account on one or several exchanges, you can trade them simultaneously through this service. Thus, TabTrader takes away the need to stay behind a computer monitor (or behind several monitors), switching from one exchange to another. Now you can carry out all trading operations anytime, anywhere, through this application.

Connecting to the exchanges is carried out through API-keys that are not entitled to withdraw funds from your account. Thus, working with TabTrader, you do not need to worry about the security of your fiat and cryptocurrency assets, as the application allows you to only trade, carry out technical and other analysis of charts. TabTrader is a kind of trading terminal for operations on the cryptocurrency market. Moreover, for the use of them, you do not need to pay anything. All the functionality of the application is completely free. There is a version for both iOS and Android.

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zTrader

zTrader mobile app interface

zTrader is a mobile client that allows users to trade on the global cryptocurrency exchanges. More than 100 altcoins are integrated here, as well as 20 trading platforms.

With the help of such a device, you can manage your accounts directly from your mobile phone, without keeping separate accounts. The software is currently available only for Android. iPhone developers are not yet released.

The application was released in 2014. Today, it is one of the most popular tools in the arsenal of a crypto trader. The success of development is based on its convenience: you do not need to have several exchanges on your phone in the case that your assets are distributed. Everything is available in one account.

It also displays the total portfolio balance, percentages, rising or falling quotes, open orders, contract history, individual quotes for each cryptocurrency, and much more.

As in most portfolio management applications, you can set the sound and vibrate settings as an alert to be triggered when the crypto course reaches a certain mark. In zTrader, this idea was developed and implemented by triggers. A trigger, in this case, denotes an action automatically performed under certain conditions.

As for self-trading, there is nothing original here – the same buy and sell orders are available, along with output capitalization data and volumes.

Cryptocurrency trading apps comparison

Apps Downloads iOs/Android Free/Charges
Binance 1,000,000+ Both Free
Coinbase 5,000,000+ Both Free
Blockfolio 1.000,000+ Both Free
TabTrader 500,000+ Both Some features are chargeable
zTrader 50,000+ Android only Some features are chargeable

There are many apps to help traders, however not all of them are good and safe, so you should focus on the most well-known ones and download only from reliable sources.

Before starting to use any program, it is worth reading reviews on forums in order to better understand its pros and cons. Hope you will choose the application that suits you the best!

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5 Most Promising Cryptocurrencies with High Potential in 2019

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With more than 2,000 coins on CMC, picking the project with the most potential is not an easy feat. What’s the most promising cryptocurrency?
5 Most Promising Cryptocurrencies with High Potential in 2019
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Yes, the crypto market tanked in 2018, but let’s not miss the forest for the trees: there are still of plenty of promising cryptocurrencies with out-of-the-box use cases. U.Today has determined the top 5 cryptocurrencies with huge potential. While compiling our list, we took into account numerous factors, such as the current standing of a cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap (CMC), its fundamental advantages and the major developments inside the ecosystem of a certain project. Buckle up! 

Cardano (ADA)

Cardano is a smart contract platform that poses as a better alternative to Ethereum. Notably, the project is spearheaded by a former Ethereum developer Charles Hoskinson. It outperforms Ethereum in the following departments:

  • Scalability. According to many critics, Ethereum, just like Bitcoin, is not able to reach mainstream adoption because the coin is not scalable enough. Ethereum is able to handle only 15 TPS while Cardano’s protocol does 200 TPS.
  • Smart Contracts. Solidity is credited for the popularization of smart contracts, but it also has multiple security flaws. Haskell makes sure that Cardano is an extremely secure Blockchain.
  • Interoperability. Cardano allows different Blockchains to communicate. That will drive the adoption of Cardano since interoperability ensures compliance in transactions.

2018 was underwhelming — ADA lost more 95 percent after the bearish trend started. Moreover, the Cardano community was disappointed by the Shelley release. However, after releasing the Cardano 1.4 update, the project swiftly started picking up steam. Q1 2019, according to Hoskinson, is their final target for the Shelley phase, which will include multisig transactions, paper wallets, quantum resistance, etc. A transition to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm will also contribute to a potential bull run. Cardano’s Ouroboros basically makes the energy-consuming PoW algorithm obsolete.

In a huge contrast to the previous year, 2019 is shaping up to be huge for Cardano, and Hoskinson is expected to announce a brand-new roadmap during the forthcoming IOHK Summit that will take place on Apr. 17-18.

Many agree that the current price of Cardano ($0.04) doesn’t reflect the project’s real value. Hence, Cardano is set to fire its cannon this year.

Cardano (ADA)

Ripple (XRP)

If there is one promising cryptocurrency, it’s definitely XRP. After overtaking Ethereum to snatch the second spot on CMC, XRP is gradually becoming a major element of the global financial system. Ripple’s RippleNet, a cross-border settlement service, has signed with more than 200 financial institutions around the globe (the National Bank of Kuwait is one of the most recent examples).

Ripple started 2019 with a slew of new partnerships that are expected to boost adoption. For instance, Euro Exim Bank is expected to start using XRP for conducting cross-border transactions. However, there is a big challenge for Ripple: the crypto behemoth has to convince banking institutions to adopt xRapid, its brand-new messaging product that converts the native currencies to XRP. They succeeded with xCurrent, but very few banking institutions are on board with the XRP-oriented xRapid. Major companies, such as Western Union, IDT, and MoneyGram, are testing xRapid, but they are not fully onboard.

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According to Ripple CEO Garlinghouse, banks are gearing up to use their new product, which could result in a major price spike. On top of that, numerous cryptocurrency exchanges are currently partnering with xRapid. Even Binance, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, recently spilled the beans on a potential tie-up.

However, what kind of spike are we talking about? After a 49,500 percent rally in 2017, XRP also firmly held second place in January, but a swift rise to prominence was followed by a brutal price drop. Currently, the coin is sitting at $0.30, which is a far cry from its ATH of $3.20. The probability of another bull run in 2019 depends on the pace of adoption.

Fun fact: If all financial institutions teamed up with RippleNet for conducting international payments, XRP price will skyrocket to $692.30, and Ripple would be worth $27 trln.

Ripple (XRP)

Waves (WAVES)

Waves finished 2018 on a high note – while the broader market was testing new yearly lows, Waves managed to stay above the fray with its price increasing all of December. Many projects face harsh criticism for not delivering on their promises, but Waves actually managed to exceed all expectations. After its $16 mln ICO that took place in 2019, the Swiss-based startup led by Russian engineer Alexander Ivanov came up with a functioning decentralized exchange in 2017.

Apart from allowing its users to perform cheap and fast transactions, Waves also has a slew of bleeding-edge features. Smart Assets, for instance, is especially valuable for deploying different business solutions that require strict regulatory compliance since it gives the possibility to blacklist or whitelist certain addresses.

Why is Waves among the most promising cryptocurrencies that could make it big in 2019? The answer lies in Security Tokens (STOs), the new pervasive crypto trend. Waves has recently launched Tokenomica, a fully compliant platform that significantly simplifies the issuance of STOs. Tokenomica is expected to have a major impact on the whole ecosystem.

Vostok, which raked in $120 mln in funding, is yet another reason why Waves could be a good bet for 2019.

Waves

Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin (BNB) has recently made it to top 10 biggest currencies by market capitalization, which speaks volumes about how promising this cryptocurrency is in 2019. As the name suggests, Binance Coin is the native coin of Binance, the biggest exchange in the world by trading volume, which took the crypto space by storm since its launch in 2017. 75 percent of BNB transactions take place on Binance.

BNB, which could be the most promising cryptocurrency to invest this year, is the driving force behind the company’s success (Binance users are incentivized to hold the token with the help of transactions fees). According to Binance’s white paper, the exchange burns a certain amount of its tokens every quarter (the latest token burn took place on Jan. 16).

In 2019, Binance places a bigger emphasis on fiat-to-crypto transactions. Changpeng Zhao (CZ) earlier claimed that he wanted to launch at least two fiat gateways on every continent. The Simplex partnership is also promising — the ability to purchase major cryptocurrencies with the help of a credit or debit card guarantees the influx of new customers.

Given that the main idea behind cryptocurrencies is to decentralize the global financial industry, the fact that all mainstream exchanges are centralized is rightfully concerning. Despite being hack-proof, decentralized exchanges fail to break into the mainstream due to issues with trading options and liquidity. Binance DEX, on the other hand, is poised to become a game changer in that department. On Feb. 6, CZ confirmed that Binance is working on a new decentralized exchange.

Binance coin (BNB)

IOTA (MIOTA)

IOTA, just like Cardano, is yet another Blockchain 3.0 project with a heavy focus on the future. MIOTA is poised to change the economy of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), one of the most disruptive technologies of recent years. IOTA enables free machine-to-machine (M2M) payments, one of the major aspects of the IoT. In the long-term perspective, IOTA users will be able to send cheap payments with the following advantages:

  • zero fees;
  • offline transactions;
  • incredibly fast*.

*In theory, IOTA could become infinitely scalable. With IOTA’s economic clustering, there will be no throughput limitation. However, there are still physical limitations of your network bandwidth.

IOTA stands out among run-of-the-mill crypto projects since it uses a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) instead of Blockchain. Blokchains and DAGs are both DLT technologies, which means that they are plenty of similarities between them, but there are critical discrepancies when it comes to their scaling properties. IOTA’s DAG is called Tangle, which is supposed to have a major competitive advantage over other Blockchain projects due to the fact that it’s quantum-proof (unlike Blockchain, it can potentially resist a hacking attack performed by a quantum computer).

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With Tangle, the previous generation only seems like the tip of the iceberg of the DLT technology. Despite occupying 14th place on CMC at press time, MIOTA still mostly remains under the radar. There are already 31 bln IoT-powered devices, and this number is expected to rapidly grow throughout 2019. As the world is becoming more interconnected, IOTA will be an inextricable part of this world. Hence, IOTA is the cryptocurrency with the most potential from the pack with a very wide range of potential use cases. On the flip side, one should keep in mind that the Tangle is a very nascent technology that has to stand the test of time.

IOTA (MIOTA)

The bottom line

This article is focusing on the most promising altcoins, but one should also consider keeping tabs on the flagship cryptocurrency – Bitcoin. The entire cryptocurrency market usually reflects BTC’s price movement, and the number still refuses to cede ground to numerous competitors. U.Today has recently revealed the major five reasons why you should still consider investing in Bitcoin in 2019, and many factors indeed show that Bitcoin could be up for a big year. Institutional investors are finally warming up to Bitcoin due to low volatility in the market.

Whether you are sticking with Bitcoin or opting for some of the most promising altcoins, 2019 already looks like a very exciting year for crypto. Stay tuned!

In this Telegram channel you’ll find fresh news, interviews, infographics, forecasts & other helpful stuff. Join U.Today's channel.
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8 Best Ethereum Wallets in 2019: The Most Secure Wallets to Store ETH

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Where to store your ETH tokens? This review of the Top-8 best Ethereum wallets will help you to make an informed decision.
8 Best Ethereum Wallets in 2019: The Most Secure Wallets to Store ETH
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Ethereum is the world’s second cryptocurrency by the market cap ($12.8 bln). It snaps at Ripple’s heels and has enough potential to outperform Bitcoin. It’s not surprising that it’s one of the most frequently used means of crypto payments (daily trading volume is $2.7 bln in ETH). If you have Ethereum, you should keep your assets safe and sound. Searching for the best Ethereum wallet? These reviews will guide you to find a worthy solution.

How to select the most secure Ethereum wallet?

Hackers never sleep and constantly invent new ways of stealing money: they have a lot of tricks in their pockets to make your digital currency disappear. If you don’t want to become their victim, you should find a truly reliable wallet. The main aspects for consideration are:

  1. A private key is a total must. Having a private key you stay assured that no one else can see or spend your funds. Both cyber and hardware wallets provide users with digital keys, but if there’s none – don’t even dare to trust your money.

  2. The team of developers should be experienced and highly qualified. Since online security is a very complicated, delicate thing, you want it to be handled by the most tech-savvy specialists. Make sure that the ETH wallet is created and maintained by true professionals.

  3. Backup possibility is also crucial. What if you forget where you store the private keys, or the server gets attacked? A good wallet developer takes care of data and makes copies to restore it in case of loss.

  4. Security is the backbone of any digital wallet. How do you know you can trust the provider? It should feature private keys, two-step authentication, and SSL certificate for the official website. Read customer reviews to check out whether user accounts have ever been hacked, or if users’ data has ever been compromised.

  5. Compatibility is also important since most of us are likely to use several devices to manage our Ethereum wallets. Ideally, storage account should be present as both desktop solution, and a mobile app. This way, your digital money always stays at your fingertips.

  6. Simplicity of use is the last but not the least point, especially for beginners. Open the interface, run the program to understand if you’ll manage to navigate the tools.

Still want guidance? Read these detailed reviews: we’ll observe the most outstanding solutions available for beginners and crypto experts.

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Best Ethereum wallets in 2019

The below-mentioned ETH wallets are highly recommended for crypto holders who want to keep their funds safe and enjoy trouble-free asset management.

1. MyEtherWallet: The best ERC20 wallet of its kind

MyEtherWallet can truly be called one of the leaders: users store their Ether private keys on their PCs and devices instead of servers, which guarantees a higher degree of security than alternative solutions. Besides, this way, you can back up assets as often as needed.

UI of MyEtherWallet is intuitive
MyEtherWallet personal account interface

The solution is available in the web version, and as a Chrome extension, so if you’re a desktop user, this will be enough. No personal information and no registration is required for creating an account.

MyEtherWallet makes asset management easy as never: you can quickly exchange ERC-20 tokens for BTC without leaving the platform. To top it off, it allows creating and running smart contracts and integrating hardware wallets.

2. Trezor: The best ETH wallet in your pocket

Initially, this hardware depositary was created for storing BTC, but now it also works with ETH and synchronizes data with MyEtherWallet web UI (you can control your Ether savings using the traditional web tools). It can replace all ERC-20 wallets since it can also store ETC, ZEC, LTC, BCH, and some other cryptocurrencies.

Trezor features a reliable electronic chip that starts running only after you log in using your password. The portable gadget looks like a USB device, it’s very lightweight and user-friendly for beginners (connected to PC via USB port).

What makes Trezor one of the most secure solutions?

  1. It features advanced cryptography tools.

  2. 2-step authentication.

  3. Final screen allows seeing transaction details before you confirm it (reduces the risk of mistakes).

Trezor is available in three colors and costs $100.

3. MetaMask: Access to dApps in a jiffy

MetaMask is another browser extension for Ether users. It gives you access to Ethereum dApps. Users can leave their private keys encrypted in their own system – the data doesn’t leak online. Besides, no personal credentials are required for registration.

MetaMask window for transaction confirmation
MetaMask won’t let you make a transaction by mistake

MetaMask makes Ethereum operations available for everyone and is intuitive: the design was made a no-brainer. You can easily operate either in Ether system, or in test network. The wallet can be installed as an extension in most common browsers. The only drawback is the absence of a smart contract management tool.

4. Jaxx: Ethereum wallet for Android and iOS

Want to manage cyber assets on the go? Try a mobile wallet from Decentral (a dev team from Canada) – they have earned the reputation of a smart and reliable developer. Jaxx stores 13 crypto assets together with Ethereum and has a very sleek, user-friendly design with multiple protection features.

Jaxx mobile application shows transaction info
Jaxx mobile interface

In Jaxx, private keys stay saved on the user’s device – the code never goes online. Besides, such feature as seed keys allows for having your funds backed up whenever you need it. Although it’s considered to be the most secure Ether wallet for smartphones, it is also compatible with computers (all OS). The company also plans to produce their hardware Jaxx device.

5. Ledger Nano S: A cheap hardware wallet alternative

Ledger Nano S is a bit less costly than Trezor: it costs $65 and has pretty much the same instruments. The device supports over thousand of various crypto tokens – it’s a record-breaking feature. To facilitate the process of crypto holding and management, it leverages a few additional custom apps.  

So, what makes it a top pick for crypto holders? Ledger Nano can boast a myriad of advantages:

  • 2-step authentication;

  • a secured PIN-code;

  • recovery seed keys for backup;

  • private keys are kept offline.

The security is so thought-through that you can’t even connect the gadget to a hacked PC.

The gimmick is perfect from a usability standpoint. It’s exploited like a usual USB – you connect it to your PC, enter the PIN and manage the assets. There’s an OLED screen that displays transaction info with a double tap button.

6. Atomic: Best Ethereum wallet for mining

If you are still involved in ETH mining, you need a convenient solution. Atomic Wallet serves to store, buy, and exchange ERC-20 tokens with a plastic card (hundreds of cryptocurrencies are supported). Thus, you can easily sell or swap your freshly-mined Ether – it will go directly to the wallet.

The program has a comprehensive interface: you can enter the address and even get your custom token. Private codes are left encrypted on the computer, which means only you have access to your funds. The solution works with the vast majority of operating computer systems, as well as mobile devices. In the nearest future, the Atomic team wants to make ETH available for exchange in its proprietary decentralized system for crypto exchange without middlemen (Atomic Swaps).

7. Exodus: A versatile solution

Did you know that Exodus is the pioneer of multi-cryptocurrency storage sphere? It charges no fees and has a very simple, intuitive interface: when you get to the desktop version, you will see the chart of your coin portfolio. Exodus supports over 100 tokens and is the 1st desktop solution to integrate ShapeShift for quick crypto operations. Today, the number of exchange partners is enormous, which makes for high liquidity and faster transactions. Besides, users can receive and send crypto from smart contracts.

Exodus wallet interface
Exodus shows the user’s cryptocurrency statistics

Internet connection is needed for connecting to Exodus, but have no doubt: your private keys will stay only on your device. Besides, data security is ensured thanks to email recovery and seed keys for backup. No personal data is required, and sharing your email is a necessity only if you want to receive a backup link. It’s simply one of the best ERC-20 wallet solutions from the point of privacy.

8. Mist: Official choice of ETH keepers

This is a versatile option for all ERC-20 tokens. Once you install this wallet, it will synchronize with the Ethereum network and allow you to set a PIN. Do not forget to store the password where you can remember – you won’t have any chance to recover it.

When this security step is done, Mist functions as any other Ethereum wallet. Assets are managed with the help of private and public codes (private key is stored on the computer only). ShapeShift exchange is present to buy and sell ETH for other cryptocurrencies.

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Compare the best Ether wallet solutions

Still don’t know which option to select? If you perform Ether transactions on a regular basis and need maximum flexibility and versatility, select desktop wallets with mobile versions. If you aren’t involved in trading and prefer holding crypto in large quantities, an Ethereum USB wallet would be a better choice. Here’s the breakdown of popular ETH wallet variants:

Wallet

Type

Is personal info required?

Are smart contracts supported?

Ledger Nano S

Hardware

No

No

Trezor

Hardware

No

No

Atomic Wallet

Desktop

No

No

Exodus

Desktop

No, but email is provided for backup (optional)

Yes

Jaxx

Mobile + desktop

No

Yes

Mist

Desktop

No

Yes

MetaMask

Desktop

No

No

MyEtherWallet

Web

No

Yes

Bottom Line

So, what is the best Ethereum wallet? There’s no absolute answer – everything depends on your needs and requirements. But no matter which type you prefer – a digital or hardware one – you should always take care of security.

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Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition

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In order to keep winning amids the crypto rout, you have to stay at the top of your game
Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition
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Cryptocurrencies represent the first new asset class in decades, so it’s not an easy feat to come up with the right investment strategy. In this article, U.Today sheds light on the main peculiarities of cryptocurrency investment and most popular long-term and short-term strategies that could be useful for those who are only kicking off or trying to survive the bear market.
Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition

Why should you consider investing in cryptocurrencies?

Despite the top cryptocurrencies shedding more than 90 percent of their value in 2019, there are still plenty of reasons to invest in the market. When it comes to Bitcoin, for instance, if you buy 0.28 BTC at this point, you can be absolutely sure that no more than 1 percent will own more BTC that you do. Hence, you can easily become a 1 percenter in the hypothetical Bitcoin world.   

Investment 101

For starters, it’s worth mentioning that every investment strategy presupposes a set of rules that are supposed to make the most of your investment portfolio. Different investors have different styles and approaches, but overall, all of them try to achieve the same thing: predicting how a certain asset will behave in the nearest future based on the market data that is already available.

Depending on the type of data, we can distinguish two major investment styles – fundamental analysis and technical analysis. The fundamental analysis defines an intrinsic value of a certain coin while technical analysts primarily focus on trading patterns that could give a good idea of where a certain asset is going in the nearest future.  

Fundamental analysis

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, you have to check all the boxes mentioned below in order to perform an in-depth fundamental analysis:

  • Market capitalization. The very first thing that you are supposed to do when scrutinizing a certain cryptocurrency is to open CMC and look at its market cap. For instance, Bitcoin, the king of crypto, has a market cap of $62.7 mln. Ethereum and XRP are constantly see-sawing, battling for second place.   

  • White paper. Sure, during the peak of the ICO bubble investors would blindly throw money at literally any project and still managed to profit. However, once the bubble popped, investors realized that it was a recipe for defeat, and they started doing at least a bit of homework. Reading the project’s white paper could be a good place to start in order to define whether the currency has an intrinsic value.

  • News. FUD spreads like fire in the crypto space given the industry’s extreme volatility. Keeping tabs on the most recent events could give you a good idea of what cryptocurrencies you should buy and sell.

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Technical analysis

Now that we’ve covered fundamental analysis, let’s focus on technical strategies. There are three major types of technical analysis:

  • Moving averages (determining price trends over a certain period of time)

  • Chart patterns (support and resistance, trend lines, reversal patterns);

  • Volatility patterns (MACD, RSI, etc).

Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition

Dollar-cost averaging (DCA)

Dollar-cost averaging (DCA) is an investment approach that presupposes routinely purchasing a fixed dollar amount of cryptocurrencies. For instance, you can set up a schedule on Coinbase in order to buy $100 worth of Ethereum (ETH) every month.

This is the laziest strategy out there – you have to put in zero effort (just make sure that you’ve deposited funds to your Coinbase account). The lower the prices, the bigger amount of crypto ends up in your hot wallet (and vice versa).    

+ DCA helps to reduce the extreme volatility in the long-term, which is one of the main pain points of the cryptocurrency market
- As studies show, risk-averse clients usually see fewer profits with DCA than those who go for lump-sum investment.     

Value-averaging strategy (Sell the rips, buy the dips)

Value-averaging strategy is an alternative strategy that seems to work for those investments that are highly volatile.

This is a very simple strategy, which presupposes selling off crypto at the height of the bull market and buying a lot when bears reign supreme. It doesn’t even sound like a strategy – just the rule of thumb of crypto. However, there are certain recommendations that you want to follow in order to remain in the loop.

Here, you must know exactly when the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum is going up in order not to lose your bread money. Make sure that you do not exceed your monthly spending limit.      

A balanced portfolio

Bitcoin investors who pick this strategy can mitigate their risks by equally dividing their portfolio between different digital assets. This is also a complete no-brainer – you simply invest the same amount of money in each cryptocurrency on your portfolio (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, etc.).   

+ This strategy is for those who are iffy about what coin they should stick with.   
- You won’t be able to maximize your profit.  

A capitalization-weighted portfolio

 As the name suggests, investors create a market-value-weighted portfolio (top 10, top 20 or top 50) coins that will accurately reflect the current state of the mercurial market. Alternatively, you can also invest in cryptocurrency index funds that usually stick to the same approach.     

Originally, crypto index funds were created by investment mastermind John Bogle, who came up with an idea of balancing the portfolio with the help of a market index. Hence, you are not subjected to any risks that are connected to individual coins – you only care about the general market sentiment.

Institutional investors who are willing to dip their toes into the crypto space can consider the following cryptocurrency index funds (Coinbase Index, CRYPTO20, Bit20).

+ You are not supposed to dip your toes into separate coins whose price might be whittled down.   
- With cryptocurrencies, the whole market usually copycats Bitcoin    

An unbalanced portfolio (coin picking)

Managing an unbalanced investment portfolio is a tad more challenging given that one cannot know for sure what coin will witness the best performance. However, the reward will be much bigger if you manage to hit the bullseye. In the current bear market, it is advisable to invest in reputed currencies that are here to stay.   

Obviously, only a professional investor will be able to determine what coin will pick up steam in the future and become the next Ethereum by using a systematic form of analysis. Hence, this investment strategy is definitely not beginner-friendly. If you decided to get involved in that risky business, you should have a penchant for predicting a positive price momentum.

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Small cap investing

There are many approaches to coin picking, with small cap investing being one of them. Obviously, this is the riskiest among them, but it can potentially bring huge benefits in the future. The modus operandi is fairly similar to the traditional stock market. The only difference is that you invest in projects that may hardly represent anything more than a whitepaper. Investors usually shy away from coins that are sitting outside the top 50, but it might a good idea to devote a substantial amount of time to studying individual tokens.

Given the speculative nature of cryptocurrencies, you should be extra-careful picking a certain coin. There are tons of outright clones that simply copycat the code with a few basic changes. Case in point: Apollo, the NXT fork, which is currently trying to play out a massive pump-and-dump scheme.     

+ The obvious advantage of coin picking is that you can jump on the bandwagon early before a certain coin makes it into the mainstream. The next Bitcoin is somewhere near!
-  It’s much more likely that the coin you’ve chosen will flop (CMC is ridden with plenty of dead coins).   

HODL

HODL (‘hold on for dear life’) is probably the most popular term in the cryptocurrency space. Yes, many people felt let down after cryptocurrencies got caught in the death spiral, but you truly believe in the fundamental value of cryptocurrencies. If the most bullish Bitcoin price predictions turn into reality, you might be able to earn a fortune. It’s very likely that the current bear market is simply a bump in the road.

Let’s recall the example of Ronald Wayne, who sold his ten percent stake in Apple for 10 percent in the 70s (in 2018, Apple became the first company to reach a $1 bln capitalization). Crypto baron John McAfee, for instance, predicts that Bitcoin could breach the $170,000 mark by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, he still stands by his prediction that Bitcoin could hit $1 mln by the end of 2020. Crazy? Maybe. However, one should keep in mind that hardly anyone could predict that Bitcoin could cause such a disruption in the financial world.
Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition
+ If you hold your coins, there a good chance that you could pull a Kristoffer Koch, and become filthy rich without even knowing about it.
- On the flip side, plenty of investors who didn’t sell their coins at the height of the bull market got burned.  

  
Diversifying your investment portfolio
U.Today has described the main ways of managing your cryptocurrency portfolio, but, in fact, your investment choices shouldn’t be restricted to digital assets. Don’t hold all your eggs in one basket. In the middle of the bear market, it is worth looking at numerous other financial instruments (apart from Bitcoin and Ethereum). For instance, eToro offers over 1,200 investment options over six asset classes (stocks, indices, commodities, etc.).

+ There is less volatility in the traditional market, which means that your funds are more likely to be safe.    
-  You won’t likely derive huge profits from investing in the stock market (unless you hit the bullseye by pouring money in a low-market cap firm that could become the next Amazon).        


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Running a masternode (passive income)

By running a cryptocurrency master node, you can secure a good (or even excellent) passive income. It depends on what incentive model is implemented for master node operators. Hence, you get a return on your investment over a certain period of time.
Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition
Each coin has a specific amount of coins required to run a master node. With Dash, for instance, you are supposed to have 1000 DASH collateral ($67,934 at the time of writing this article). Of course, this amount of money is out of reach for the lion’s share of beginner-level investors, but there is plenty of small caliber coins that are significantly less expensive.
Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition

+ Masternode operators are incentivized with a block reward (running a masternode can turn into a great source of passive income)
- You are required to have a substantial amount of tokens that will be locked away as a stake. Running small-caliber master nodes might not pay off. On top of that, many critics see masternodes as the breeding ground for centralization.  

An uncongenial way: investing in trading bots

One of the main rules of cryptocurrency trading is not to be afraid of losses (given that even seasoned traders are not immune to them). Of course, that pertains to traditional market as well (ardent crypto hater Warren Buffett lost almost $23 bln during the 2008 financial crisis. However, the age of AI brought a brand-new option to the table – cryptocurrency trading bots that will allow you to trade even when you sleep or work.
Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition
Of course, your success mainly depends on a chosen trading strategy – FUD is a powerful force that could make you sell off your crypto if bad news persists in a situation where holding would be more appropriate. On the flip side, there is also greed, which blinds rational thinking and is why many people fail to jump ship on time.

Bots also save your time given that you may wake up just to see that a couple of your trades have been already executed.

+ Trading bots save your time and make trading emotionless.
- Trading bots can be costly (for instance, Haasbot will set you back $1,200 per year), and they cannot factor the most recent trading moves.

Cryptocurrency mining hardware: yay or nay?

In the majority of countries, Bitcoin mining is not profitable at current prices, and even with top-notch ASIC miners, you will hardly earn any substantial amount of money that will at least let you cover the cost of your mining hardware. However, the rapid decline of the mining industry has its silver lining – extremely cheap mining hardware. As U.Today reporter earlier, this is shaping up to be a global trend – from China to South Africa. Hence, we are dealing with another ‘buy the dip’ situation in case Bitcoin mining becomes profitable again. Do not forget that you can also mine Ethereum as well as plenty of other altcoins (Ethereum mining was more profitable in 2018).    
Best Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy for 2019: Surviving the Bear Market Edition
+ You will be at the top of your game if Bitcoin mining profitability goes up.
-  If the market remains in the doldrums, your used graphics cards are heading straight to a trash bin given that they are not popular on the secondary market.  

How to improve your cryptocurrency investment strategy?

With every strategy, there is always room for improvement. Hence, let’s take a look at these most common investment tools that will help you make investment more efficient.    

  1. CoinMarketCal. The community-driven calendar of the cryptocurrency market (it’s a free tool to track all the events that pertain to your favorite coin).     
  2. CoinTracking. A good tool to track your portfolio (you can always use such wallets as Exodus that display your portfolio in percentage).
  3. MatchCoins.info. If coin picking seems difficult to you, you can compare any two coins on the list.
  4. CryptoMiso. It’s a Github monitoring tool that helps you to stay in the loop of the development process of a particular Blockchain.
  5. Lastly, you can also follow cryptocurrency news aggregators (that has been mentioned in our initial recommendation about cryptocurrency investments).

Common mistakes investors should avoid
Now that we’ve covered all major strategies, it is worth mentioning a couple of don'ts that pertain to your cryptocurrency investment experience:

  1. Do not put your money in a project you have no idea about. Do not forget to do your homework.

  2. Do not go all-in with a single asset. Diversify your portfolio.

  3. Do not overtrade.

  4. Do not put too much money in penny coins.

  5. Do not margin trade if you are not an experienced investor.  

Lastly, we should also point out that it is crucially important to avoid different Bitcoin high-yield investment scams in the likes of Bitcoin Profit. USI Tech, which was once on the list of the best investment strategies, turned out to be a mammoth-sized scam. Another recently exposed fraud pertains to the project called ‘Filecoin’ – a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur was accused of scamming people by selling them the hardware that is specifically designed for mining this coin.          

Cryptocurrency pump-and-dump schemes are also fairly common, and you should avoid them at all cost. Do not listen to ‘gurus’ who are willing to give you investment advice on a particular coin. In order to not be a victim of such a fraud, read our tutorial on how pump-and-down schemes work and what you can do about them.

That’s it! Hopefully this article will help you survive this crypto winter. Stay tuned to U.Today for more exciting content.

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here is not investment advice – it is provided for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of U.Today. Every investment and all trading involves risk, so you should always perform your own research prior to making decisions. We do not recommend investing money you cannot afford to lose.

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Is Blockchain Technology Still Interesting for Banks in 2019?

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U.Today explores the wide-reaching implications of Blockchain technology for the global banking industry in 2019
Is Blockchain Technology Still Interesting for Banks in 2019?
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Blockchain is mainly known as the currency that powers Bitcoin. The technology made its grand debut in Satoshi’s legendary white paper, but there were also many precursors to its appearance. Despite the fact that Bitcoin remains its most famous use case, there are plenty of other applications of the DLT technology in a slew of other industries. Not surprisingly, the traditional banking sector was the among the first industries that Blockchain took by storm. However, after the crypto rout, many naysayers still wonder whether banks are still interested in Blockchain in 2019. In this article, U.Today explains why it could be the case.   

banking sector

Major benefits of Blockchain

Here’s how banking institutions can benefit from utilizing the disruptive Blockchain technology:

  • High transaction speed. The major reason why many banks around the world are jumping on the Blockchain bandwagon is the speed of bank transfers. An ordinary bank transfer takes up to three days to be verified, but Blockchain helps to eliminate this long wait by reducing the transfer time to minutes or even seconds. For example, a Switzerland-based startup called Liquineq has managed to design a Blockchain-powered bank transfer platform that is able to process up to 50,000 transactions per second with the help of sharding. In the long-term perspective, Blockchain would allow exchanging money with the speed information moves at today.

  • Top-notch security. Apart from an impressive-speed, Blockchain technology also offers a high level of security. Reduced transaction time means that there are fewer possibilities for someone to intervene with the transactions. Each transaction is secured with the help of keys (the private key, as the name suggests, is only revealed to those parties that conduct the transaction).

    One should also keep in mind the fact that Blockchain is an immutable ledger, which cannot be tampered with. Blockchains cannot be hackers (hypothetically, it would take a quantum computer to do so, but there are already quantum-proof Blockchains in the likes of IOTA). Considering that 40 percent of financial bodies face economic crimes that lead to significant losses. At the same time, Blockchain’s mechanism is extremely difficult to corrupt.
     

  • Greater efficiency. Blockchain would be able to cut the operational costs of major banks by 50 percent. The technology will allow banks to drastically reduce the cost of transactions while simultaneously bringing more transparency to the table. Another study, which was conducted by consultancy firm Bain, shows that Blockchain could reduce trade finance operating costs by up to 80 percent if implemented right. The cost reduction would be primarily the result of faster transactions — according to their estimations, the speed of settlements, billings and payments by four times could experience a three-fold increase.   

Use cases for banks

International transactions

Sending money to another country is not an easy feat. For instance, Wells Fargo clients have to pay a $45 fee in order to perform an international wire transfer. This is objectively a huge waste of money considering the yearly volume of cross-border transactions reached $180 trln last year.

Ripple, for instance, is viewed as an alternative to mainstream bank transfer systems (SWIFT remains the main target for disruption). There have been numerous rumors about a potential partnership between the two, with some suggesting that SWIFT could eventually buy Ripple. However, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse dispelled these rumors back in November, stating that they are hell-bent on taking over SWIFT. Garlinghouse also reveals that almost ‘at least’ 100 SWIFT-connected banks are already utilizing their xCurrent product. In other news, Euro Exim Bank, the very first bank that started using Ripple’s xRapid, is testing its new trade finance system with the help of the Ripple Blockchain.   

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Smart contracts  

The cost of commercial claims resolved through litigation around the world reaches a staggering $870 bln (and that sum of money doesn’t take into account contract mismanagement). Smart contracts debuted with Ethereum in 2015. This feature allows encoding information about the terms and conditions of a contract on a Blockchain, and they cannot be tampered with due to its immutability.

It is worth mentioning that smart contracts are also self-enforcing, which means that there are no financial intermediaries. Money is only released from an escrow when the terms of the contract are met. Blockchain could cut the red herring in the banking industry, completely eradicating complicated legal documentation. Smart contracts could be used for loan servicing, insurance, etc.

Know Your Customer (KYC)

Each financial institution has to shell out on average $48 mln in order to conduct KYC for their customers. Back in 2017, Thomson Reuters reported that reported that KYC-related procedures for banking giants with annual revenue of $10 bln exceeded $142 mln. Notably, the cost of such procedures tends to go higher each year.

With Blockchain, storing data that pertains to the customer’s financial history is much easier. An immutable ledger could keep all information about the source of funds, loan history, and the customer’s business activity. The information is securely stored on a Blockchain, and it can be shared with other banks.   

Auditing and reporting

Just like in the previous case, Blockchain could significantly reduce the cost of auditing and reporting information to regulatory authorities. Undoubtedly, regulatory compliance is crucially important, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that expensive.

U.Today already reported that Big-Four auditors are trilling Blockchain technology within a consortium with 20 Taiwanese banks. The tamper-proof technology is the perfect choice for verifying the authenticity of transactions.

Cryptographic wallets

Digital wallets represent a huge threat to the banking industry. Hence, banks take matters into their own hands while the industry is still nascent. The total number of people with a credit card is 1 bln, which is 40 times bigger than the size of the public with a cryptographic wallet (25 mln). Rabobank, a major Dutch multinational banking company, already planned to integrate a cryptocurrency wallet into its online banking system. Bank of America, for instance, was awarded a patent for secure crypto storage, which gave ground to many speculations that it’s going to operate a crypto wallet.    

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Syndicated lending

It may come as a surprise, but in the age of bleeding-edge technologies, people still mainly rely on fax for syndicated lending (when multiple institutions join forces in order to provide a loan). On average, it takes 19 days for a bank to approve your loan, and your loan amount will most likely get disbursed in 5-7 working days.

Yes, you guessed it – Blockchain could substantially alleviate the process of taking out a loan. That’s exactly why global banking giant Credit Suisse launched a commercial platform for Blockchain-powered syndicated loans in 2019.

Blockchain disrupting the banking sector worldwide  

Literally, almost every bank under the sun. Currently, up to 99 percent of banks and investment firms are either exploring the new technology or already utilizing it. CEOs of the biggest banking institutions in the world recognize the disruptive potential of Blockchain, and they are actively working on new use cases that are based on the new technology in order not to be left behind if it indeed explodes and becomes bigger than the Internet.

North America

As U.Today reported earlier, Bank of America (BofA) is one of the leading companies by the amount of Blockchain-related patents, along with such behemoths as IBM and Alibaba. On the flip side, the fact that BofA is fighting tooth and nail in order to become the leader in the Blockchain race doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to use all of its patents. It’s more likely that the second largest bank in America is simply reserving a spot for the future. The trend is seen worldwide — only 10 percent of banks have actually implemented Blockchain.

North America

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase went as far as creating a separate division for exploring the potential of Blockchain (the Quorum division). Similarly, Goldman Sachs enjoys a reputation as one of the most crypto-friendly banks. The Bank of Montreal also debuted a Blockchain-powered system for fixed-income transactions.

Europe

In June 2018, Deutsche Bank collaborated with US tech giant IBM to test bank transfers that are powered by Blockchain. Earlier, Deutsche Bank’s CIO also claimed that Blockchain’s potential is huge. IBM’s Martin Schroeter explained that major financial institutions in the likes of Deutsche Bank are using Blockchain to enhance the level of security and scalability.

Santander Group, a multinational commercial bank in Spain, was among the first to roll out the Ripple-Net powered service 'Santander One Pay FX' for conducting cross-border transactions.

Europe

Eight of the biggest Polish banks are currently testing a Blockchain-based platform designed by Billon Group for storing and managing the customer’s personal data. In the future, Billon Group plans to introduce Blockchain-powered solutions for other major banks, including transferring fiat money.

Russian banking giant Sberbank has been on the Blockchain train since 2017. Sberbank CEO Herman Gref recently predicted that industrial-level adoption of Blockchain will take place in one or two years. Raiffeisen Bank also announced that it would use the DLT technology for issuing digital mortgages.    

Asia

China is already jumping feet-first into the Blockchain industry in spite of its infamous crackdown on crypto. On Dec. 29, the China Banking Association (CBA) signed over ten major Chinese banks (including HSBC and Bank of China) to a new Blockchain-powered trading platform. In the nearest future, CBA expects that smaller-caliber banks will follow suit. While China strives to be at the forefront of Blockchain innovations, it would be rather challenging for the country to make this transition given that its local trade ecosystem is still paper-based and labor-centric.

Asia

On Jan. 29, the Economic Times reported that major Indian banks, including ICICI Bank, HDFC bank and Axis Bank, have formed a consortium to launch the very first Blockchain-powered funding platform for small and medium-size businesses. When it comes to cryptocurrency, however, a hostile line persists.   

The Middle East  

The Gulf Region channels China’s ambitions when it comes to adopting Blockchain in banking. Remarkably, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other countries are also not big fans of crypto, but they recognize the aforementioned advantages of decentralization in the banking industry.

On Dec. 27, U.Today reported about the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) teaming up with Ripple in order to launch a cross-border remittance service dubbed ‘NBK Direct Remit’. Jordanian citizens will be able to send transactions in a matter of seconds.

The Middle East  

Africa

African banks are also warming up to Blockchain. Namely, Barclays Africa Group, the third biggest bank in South Africa, became the first financial institution in the country to join other 45 R3 members. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) spearheaded the collaboration of the country’s biggest eight banks for Project Khokha, which utilizes the Ethereum-based Quorum Blockchain for performing fast bank-to-bank payments. Still, the pace of adoption remains sporadic across the country.  

africa

Latin America

On Dec. 15, Reuters reported about Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco becoming the very first bank to close its club loan. That was conducted with the help of R3 Corda Connect, which cuts the red herring, helping banks approve club deals digitally. It is worth mentioning that the country’s central bank started dipping its toes into the Blockchain technology long before that by starting to test Ethereum and Quorum back in 2017.

Central Bank of the Argentine Republic

Back in July, the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic also requested 42 books in order to understand Blockchain technology in a better way, which shows that they are ready to openly accept the currency.       

Blockchain as a replacement for banks

The abovementioned use cases show how much potential the technology has, but it doesn’t mean that we should write off the world’s banking industry (at least for now). Some experts predict that it would take a very long time for Blockchain to replace traditional banking, and it would have to undergo years (or even decades) of additional transformations to come up as a viable replacement. The technology is still facing the so-called ‘scalability trilemma’, which refers to the tradeoff between scalability and security for the sake of optimization.

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The issues that have to be resolved   

Blockchain is currently in the very early stages of its development. In the future, there could be global coordination between multiple banks that could utilize the technology for the common good. As of now, the major challenge is to come up with common standards for financial institutions, which are necessary for implementing new solutions.

Another obstacle that currently hinders the adoption is lack of awareness about Blockchain. According to a PwC report, only 24 percent of executives in the banking industry are familiar with the technology.    
Key stakeholders within a certain financial institution have to realize the benefits of Blockchain.

Lastly, we cannot ignore the elephant in the room – regulations. Mainstream adoption won’t happen without a proper legal framework. However, as of recently, it seems like lawmakers are finally warming up to the new-fangled technology. Case in point: Wyoming, a crypto-friendly US state that recently unanimously passed a Blockchain bill that would give a huge push to Blockchain integration in the cowboy state. On Jan. 29, they passed yet another Blockchain bill.  

Blockchain is not an expense-saving machine

Umar Farooq, who spearheads the Blockchain department at JPMorgan, believes that DLT technology can indeed offer applications for banks, but its cost-saving abilities are largely exaggerated. Blockchain, according to Farooq, is mainly about creating new products. Meanwhile, simply using it as a tool for cutting expenses and labor force significantly limits its possibilities.

Blockchain banking for the unbanked   

Yes, the adoption rate is still rather slow, and major banks are not going anywhere, but there is one sector where Blockchain is already making waves: banking the unbanked. About 2 mln people around the world still remain unbanked. That issue is not restricted to third-world countries – nationwide, almost 8 percent of households in the US remain unbanked. Not surprisingly, things are getting much worse in regions with a low level of financial inclusion, as 34 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa remain without a bank account.

Blockchain banking for the unbanked

CNBC earlier reported that people in South Africa (one of the most developed regions) still transfer funds with the help of a bus driver given the inefficiency of bank transfers, which is why it’s becoming one of the focal points of the crypto gold rush. As of now, there are plenty of Ethereum-based projects that are designed to tackle the issue.

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